Arthritis and Your Feet


Each of your feet contains over 30 joints, so it’s no surprise that, if you have a joint disease such as arthritis, one of the primary locations you will feel the effects is in your feet.

Types of arthritis

There are the three main types of arthritis:

  • Post-traumatic arthritis—This arthritis has similar symptoms to osteoarthritis, but it develops in joints that have sustained previous damage perhaps from a fracture or dislocation. A joint with an injury is considerably more likely to develop arthritis, although it may not occur for many years after the injury.
  • Osteoarthritis—Commonly known as “wear and tear” arthritis, this is the most common type and occurs as the cartilage and joints deteriorate with age. Those individuals age fifty and above are at the highest risk.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis—is a more serious form of arthritis that is actually an autoimmune disease in which your body’s own immune system attacks the linings of the joints. This condition causes painful fluid buildup and pain that can lead to deformity and disability.

Symptoms of the various types of arthritis tend to worsen over time and include swelling, pain, redness, and warmth and stiffness in the joints. These symptoms are usually more pronounced in the morning upon arising or after other periods of inactivity such as bus or train rides.

Treatment for foot arthritis:

  • Cortisone injections—can provide relief and may require several treatments.
  • Physical therapy—to strengthen muscles in your foot and ankle and to increase joint mobility and flexibility.
  • Orthoticsand padding can help shift pressure away from inflamed joints and from foot deformities such as bunions and hammertoes.
  • Surgery—may be necessary in extreme cases when the above methods don’t provide relief.
  • Oral medications—such as ibuprofen can be taken to relieve pain and inflammation.

If you are experiencing the effects of arthritis or if you notice your symptoms are getting worse, it is important to have a thorough examination by a foot specialist to rule out other causes that may mimic arthritic conditions of the feet and ankles. Dr. Scott Nelson of Foot and Ankle Medical Clinic in Garland, TX, is a board-certified and highly experienced podiatrist who has helped people suffering from all types of foot and ankle injuries and deformities. From bunions to diabetic foot problems, sports injuries and fungal nails, you can trust that Dr. Nelson and his staff are wholeheartedly devoted to your foot health. Please contact our office with any questions you may have or to schedule an appointment by calling 972-414-9800.